Author Topic: Electoral reform in BC  (Read 17240 times)

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Storm

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Electoral reform in BC
« on: October 25, 2004, 19:10:32 »
Well, the news today is that the Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform in BC has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a STV system. http://www.citizensassembly.bc.ca/public WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!   ;D :salute:

Personally I was a little bit skeptical when the format of the assembly was announced a while back, but that skepticism has been blown away by the end result. It's very close to what I had been hoping for (not exactly, but hey nothing's perfect). I can't wait to vote in favour of this change in May. The only downside of course is that we have to wait until 2009 to actually vote under the system (just in time to choose the government for the olympics!)

What do you think of this decision?

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2004, 19:22:21 »
I like the idea.  Be interesting to see how it works out at provincial level.

If its implemented there then we can take a look at it in the Canadian context and see if it is applicable to the Federal situation.

I like the single transferable vote.  I am intrigued but not totally sold on the multi-representative ridings.  2 reps per riding I can tolerate but 7 (as they are suggesting for some ridings) seems to be a bit too much dilution of responsibility and direct representation.

At the federal level I definitely would not be in favour of such large riding lists.  Also if the STV were implemented I would want to see a change to the Senate and an elected GG.  If we are going to bust up the party system then lets bust it up good.

Where would authority lie then? Where it is supposed to lie.  In the hands of a Prime Minister in the Commons, answerable to the House on a daily basis, cognizant of the Senate representing entrenched interests (in our case the Provinces primarily) with elections being adjudicated by the GG and Elections Canada (elect the GG and put the Chief Electoral Officer directly responsible to the GGs  office).
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Storm

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2004, 19:47:32 »
I like the single transferable vote.   I am intrigued but not totally sold on the multi-representative ridings.   2 reps per riding I can tolerate but 7 (as they are suggesting for some ridings) seems to be a bit too much dilution of responsibility and direct representation.

It seems we think very much alike - that's the "not exactly" that I was referring to. I'm quite fond of having someone I can directly call to account on things that get screwed up in my area. With seven people I can see a lot of responses to constituents' questions/complaints shifting the blame saying "I agree it's a shame, but really it's the fault of representatives #4 and 5 for not fighting harder against this legislation, not mine." Two is ok. Three I can handle. Four or more seems excessive.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2004, 01:39:00 »
Just for giggles I downloaded the riding-by-riding results for 1991, 1996, and 2001 and plugged them into an Excel spreadsheet so I could play with them.

Disregarding the 2001 blowout, I'd guess that under STV with one-member ridings we'd never have NDP government again; we'd either have a majority or coalition government of Liberals, Socreds, and PDA (if they ever resurface).  Suits me.

Multiple-member riding results are difficult to envision; I suspect the right-leaning parties parties will still carry a net advantage.  However, I object purely on the loss of accountability and representation.  I will find it interesting if the NDP supports this reform, given the posture of their ideological counterparts in the recent Vancouver referendum on moving municipal elections to a ward-based system.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2004, 11:59:20 »
Interesting conundrum for the NDP there Brad....  Especially if you add in the notion that the NDP and similar "activist" based parties may lose a lot of clout by not being able to control their own slate to the same extent.  They will have to deal with the candidates the populace at large will effectively "nominate" for them.  I think we picked up the first murmur of the problem with the Green Party's leader complaining about not have a "pure" proportional representative system where she would get to pick those people she wanted in the House.

And as I noted before I am in complete agreement with you on the multi-rep ridings.  Two reps per riding in order to get the STV I could easily accept.  7 per, I'm having more trouble with though I have to say I am leaning towards tolerating those particular warts if it is the price of a less party/ideology driven legislature and government.
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dutchie

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2004, 13:54:36 »
Pardon the ignorance regarding proportional representation, but I am a little confused....

During the most recent Federal election, Layton was pushing for proportional representation, and the Conservatives were against it. I read that proportional representation, if implemented, would favor the left/NDP, and negatively affect the right and especially the Liberals. I understand that with the first past the post system, the 'activist' parties, while they may get 10% (for instance) of the popular vote, never seem to get the equivalent share of seats in the House. I was under the impression that with PR, they would get those seats, at the expense of the Tories/Grits.

I (until now) favored the old system because it meant less Jack Latyon's & Co. in the House. Could someone explain why 3 obviously right-wing members (Kirkhill, Brad Sallows, Storm) all support PR if it means more NDP/Greens and other left-wing nutbars elected to the House?

Boydfish

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2004, 16:53:49 »
I'd say that there are no "absolutes" in terms of which parties it will help and which it will hurt.

I'm not sure that the proposed system will do much to either shift the balance either way in terms of right or left, nor would we want to create a system that would do so.  I don't agree with the NDP or lefties in general, but I agree much less with anything that would supress them or otherwise devalue thier votes.

The solution of a "single transferrable vote" seems to be a solution looking for a problem, for the most part.  It doesn't address the real electoral problems in British Columbia, but instead tries to manufacture a majority from roughly same amount of people that actually vote.  No matter if you use FPTP, PR or STV, you're going to have a credible case for how "unfair" it all is.  Democracy is by definition "unfair", but it seems to work better than most of the other options(Well, the only other option I'd support would be a benevolent dictatorship under me, but I'm having trouble getting the support I'd need to impose it.).

The real problem in BC is two-fold: 

First, the divide between urban and rural British Columbian's priorities creates a huge amount of push-pull between those groups, with the urban priorities often simply brushing aside the rural priorities on simple numbers.  The problem here is that both the rural and urban economies are extremely dependent on each other.

Second, British Columbia hasn't elected a government in a generation, but we've damn sure voted out several of them.  Our inability to put together a long range plan since the days of W.A.C. Bennett shows.  We tend to swing from one extreme to another, pushing first to the right, then the left, then back again.

I'd suggest that BC would be better served by restoring it's bicameral Legislature, which we were forced to reduce to a unicameral house when we were added to confederation.  According to the Canadian government of the time, it was unthinkable for a democratically elected government to have an unelected upper house(I'm far too polite to point out the obvious contradiction in that).  If BC were to restore it's bicameral house, with a smaller elected upper chamber based on regions and the current Legislature being based strictly on population levels, you'd see a great deal of long term stability develop.

I suspect that there is something cultural about us British Columbians that means we need the stabilizing effect of a bicameral house.  For example, if we elected our upper house for six year terms and kept our lower chamber on fixed four year terms they're on now, you'd avoid having the landslide "about-faces" that seem to be a British Columbian political hallmark.

dutchie

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2004, 16:59:19 »
Thanks very much Boydfish. That cleared up a lot.

I think I have some reading to do.   ::)

Cheers

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2004, 17:09:35 »
STV and PR are not the same thing, and I am entirely opposed to PR.

STV ensures that within each riding the winning candidates must have what is interpreted as a "clear mandate" (in a single-member riding, 50%+1 of the votes; in a dual-member riding, the quota would be 33%+1).   This assumes that all voters rank all candidates; if, for example, everyone only indicates a "number one" choice, it will still be possible for no candidate to reach the quota.

PR ensures that each party has a share of seats in government proportional to its share of the popular vote.

My problems with PR include these: who decides to whom the seats are assigned (PR is well-suited to patronage), and how is riding accountability assigned?

I have no interest in any system which gives more power to parties over independents than they already have.   Under STV, an independent still has a fair shot at election.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2004, 17:18:44 »
To add to Brad's comments, as I see it.

Proportional Representation is a lot of different things to different people.

Actually the Conservatives are on record as favouring some sort of electoral reform, including Proportional Representation as an option.

As far as I can tell PR systems boil down into three large groups.   

In one group people within a geographic area vote for parties.   The Electoral Officer then divvies up the number of seats in the legislature to each party according to the percentage of the vote.   The parties then get to assign bodies to fill the seats from a previously announced list of candidates.   People vote for the Party and the Members of the Legislature owe their jobs to the Party leadership.

In the second type people within a geographic area vote for individuals but the individuals are elected to represent the entire geographic area.   The individuals owe their jobs to the electors but no one elector can be held accountable for their actions and don't represent a particular body of people.   People with the most votes win.   Power resides with the individual councillors.   Think Vancouver City Hall.

The third type uses the transferrable vote.   As in the first past the post system the geographic area is subdivided. Candidates run in a specific region within the area.   Just like first past the post, most votes wins.   However in First Past The Post, in a five man race 20% +1 can get you a win.   In the Tranferrable vote you have to achieve support of 50%+1 to win.   This is done by the voters ranking their preferences,   1,2,3..... not just marking an X.   Least number of high scores gets knocked of the ballot and the votes that were assigned to that individual get transferred according to the voters preferences to other candidates.   Votes keep getting reassigned as low scores get knocked off until you have a winner.   Or in the case presented in BC, winners.

The   kicker here is that some ridings will be electing more than one candidate, so instead of having one MLA you will have anything from 2 to 7 MLAs to complain to.

In the end what this means is that the parties won't have such a tight grip on which candidates get elected, nor will one party be as likely to dominate the House.   This means that individual members will have more power. Iit will also be harder to form Government.   It also means that coalitions of parties and MLAs will likely be the order of the day with more compromise and less ideology.   Government stability is likely to be less, governments will fall more often, but with fixed election dates it means that the sitting members will have to sort themselves out and cobble something together.

I hope it means fewer radical swings in policy, from rabid capitalist to rabid socialist.   The conclusions that I draw from looking at countries like Denmark which have multi-party houses is that while the Government may change and policies may veer, the need to find compromise has a dampening effect on policy.   There are fewer radical changes in policy and thus planning by citizens, partners, bureaucracy and allies is made easier.   On the other hand it is possible that the bureaucracy under this system can gain in power - being   the calm centre surrounded by the storm of changing government coalitions.

All muddy now....? Cheers.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2004, 17:38:15 »
Proportional Representation is a scam to further reduce the level of thought (you thought it couldn't get any lower?) in politics to monolitihic, undemocratic, party by-lines.

Is there any advantage of an SVT system as opposed to a run-off election?

Is it worth implementing a complicated ballot system (hell, I may only want X to represent me, so I'll only put a "1" on my ballot) when the 50+1 may be achieved by a second election?   I think this question is more valid in the Federal, multiparty context as opposed to BC's current situation (2-party system).

As well, I think Boydfish raises a good point.   For some reason, many people seem to believe that changing the way we elect representatives will cure the democratic deficit.   However, the efforts of the Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform may be for nought as a single governing body cannot be the "wonderbread" to everybody in a pluralistic, liberal democratic society:

This, I believe, is one of the weaknesses of the Westminster system we inherited - we attempt to shoehorn the House of Commons into (often conflicting) postions like:

"representatives of the people" and "speaker for regional interests"

"executor of laws (Cabinet and PMO)" and "legislator of state (MP)"

"place for discourse on the affairs of state" and "solidarity to drive thorough effective government mandate (for fear of Non-Confidence vote)"

etc,etc.

You see what I'm getting at.   Simply changing the way we delegate representatives in what is a de facto unicameral system with a fused legislative-executive body will not address the "democratic deficit".   The heart of the problem lies in the fact that, much like the "Wheeled vs. Track" debate, no single system can adequately fulfill all the roles mentioned above; rather, it leaves everyone dissatisfied with the entire process which does everything satisfactorily but nothing well (hence one reason why voter turnout is constantly falling).
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Boydfish

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2004, 18:18:45 »
Infanteer
Quote
You see what I'm getting at.  Simply changing the way we delegate representatives in what is a de facto unicameral system with a fused legislative-executive body will not address the "democratic deficit".  The heart of the problem lies in the fact that, much like the "Wheeled vs. Track" debate, no single system can adequately fulfill all the roles mentioned above; rather, it leaves everyone dissatisfied with the entire process which does everything satisfactorily but nothing well (hence one reason why voter turnout is constantly falling).

The "democratic defict" question is simply too complex to fix with any one solution, even with bicameral government houses.  But it is a good first step.

A big part of the problem is that Trudeau and his ilk tried to staple concepts from a republic system onto our Westminster government, not only making a hash of our government, they studiously avoided bringing the bits of a republic system that involved politicians being lead from thier offices in handcuffs or actually limited thier personal power(Which is why Trudeau put the CCRF in the BNA/CCA, but kept the Supreme Court, which is it's enforcement mechanism, out of the same).

I personally think the Westminster system is superior to a republic model, as it not only reflects our cultural heritage far more than a franco-republic model, it's far more stable.  France is on what, it's fifth or sixth republic since the late 1700's?  The US fought the largest land war in North American history barely keeping it's first republic intact.  I have no desire to see any part of the confederation or the confederation in general going through either of those.

Brad Sallows
Quote
I have no interest in any system which gives more power to parties over independents than they already have.  Under STV, an independent still has a fair shot at election.

I think that until, at both the federal and provincial levels, the electorate stops and asks "Why do we need to have government approval to be a political party?", you won't see much done to break the hold that political parties have.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2004, 18:47:46 »
You're right, the organization of government is only one facet of the "democratic deficit"; however, I think it is an important one to be addressed.   If government is not seen as an outlet for the public discourse of the citizenry and a facilitator to civil society, then there is a serious undermining of the legitimacy of the state (eg - "who needs politicians, they're all criminals anyways" and similar common conceptions).

As well, I wouldn't be so quick to hold the blemishes of previous republican governments as proof of the superiority of the Westminster system.   If I recall correctly, England suffered from it's own debilitating Civil War (At least Abe Lincoln or Jefferson Davis weren't beheaded...).   If we are going to debate the concept of Republicanism vs Parliamentary Monarchies any further, I'd like to see what others view as the differences between the two are.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2004, 19:29:58 »
Personally I think everything went off the rails at the time of the American Revolution.

Parliament assumes an independent authority that governs and that authority must be kept in check.  That's what came out of the English Civil War and the Restoration.  The King Rules through his bureaucrats but only with the consent of the governed with the Commons representing the people (and money) and the Lords representing power (and money).

Things started to go off the rails when George I let somebody stand in for him while he busied himself about the house contemplating his dogs and lamenting the lack of good bratwurst.  A duplicitous Englishman took to standing in his stead and making decisions in his name.

George II thought this was a pretty cushy number so followed his father's example.  He couldn't speak english either.

By the time George III took the throne and tried to re-establish Royal Authority he had to fight an entrenched party system and politicians. Those politicians didn't treat their business competitors in America particularly well.  The Americans took umbrage and decided to do things for themselves.

Their solution was to return to the status quo ante.  Meaning get back to the balance of powers that existed before George I took the throne and handed off the reins.  The only difference they made in the system was that they decided to elect their King for a limited period of time and opened the job up to all comers.

In short the Westminster Parliamentary system and the American Republican system were virtually identical at one point in there histories.  The thing is the American system was codified in a constitution never more to change.  Meanwhile the Westminster system was subjected to creeping republicanism as the powers of the monarch were circumscribed and reduced by stealth, as were the powers of the Lords until you have the situation that you have today.  Power resides in the hands of the PM and all the checks in the system are designed to control the powers of a Monarch that has been sidelined. 

To Tony Blair and Pierre Trudeau the principal advantage of a monarch was that it diverted attention from their ability to do as the dammed well please.  Trudeau's comment on the GG was that rather than remove the office and precipitate a crisis he was happier to leave it in place until it withered away like a useless appendage.  The corollary to that is that the GG is the only effective check on the PM that exists in our system.

Theoretically it is the GG that can fire him, the GG that can hire his replacement (by tradition from the ranks of the Parliament - either Commons or Senate), that can have her Solicitor-General arrest him, her Attorney-General prosecute him and her Chief Justice try him.  All of those jobs are in the gift of the GG, not the PM.  She could do this on the advice of her Privy Council all of whom are appointed by her as is the entire Cabinet.   The only reason she doesn't..... she wasn't elected and Canadians were convinced long ago by MacKenzie King that the only legitimacy that counts is the legitimacy conferred by the ballot box.

Now in King's case, and in Diefenbaker's case and Trudeau and Chretien's case it was kind of difficult to pin down exactly which ballot box they respected.  Was it the vote of the Parliament, the Commons, the Caucus, the Cabinet or the Party outside the House.  All of them claimed to be the legitimate Leader of the country based on different ballot boxes at different times.  All the while staying in power and doing what they liked. 

Meanwhile we can rest assured that the GG wont be imposing any unnecessary taxes on us and sending us off to war, or arresting the Prime Minister.
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Boydfish

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2004, 21:45:25 »
Quote
You're right, the organization of government is only one facet of the "democratic deficit"; however, I think it is an important one to be addressed.

I think we agree on much here.

Quote
If government is not seen as an outlet for the public discourse of the citizenry and a facilitator to civil society, then there is a serious undermining of the legitimacy of the state (eg - "who needs politicians, they're all criminals anyways" and similar common conceptions).

The first problem you're going to run into on this point is that the current Canadian political structure will not accept that they are not beloved dictators in Ottawa.  The current political structure in Ottawa hasn't yet agreed that there is such a thing as western alienation and if there is such a thing, who are they alienated from?  It quite simply doesn't occur them that it's Upper and Lower Canada that the west has become alienated from.  How could we dislike them?  They're popular!

This phenomenon isn't simply limited to Ottawa either.  The Campbell government's actions and behaviour is actually pretty rational if you view it from the prism that they were given an overwhelming mandate by the people of British Columbia.  Of the 77 seats in BC, 75 voted for the BC Liberal platform of less taxation and smaller government.  The problem is that while a good percentage of the people who voted for Campbell, likely an equally large percentage were voting against the NDP, not for Campbell.

Heck, it's not even unique to the confederation:  Look at the US revolt.  They revolted under the trigger of what they saw as excessive taxation.  Despite that, they not only adopted the British tax system wholesale at the end of the revolt, they also put zero restrictions on how high the government could tax them!

The reason that this important is because the only people who can fix the current problems with BC's democratic process are invested personally and ideologically that everything is A-OK(Or phrased another way, a person who would seek to fix the problem would have to admit that the system that chose them was flawed).

Kirkhill

I'm not sure I agree with quite everything, but a good post nonethless!

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2004, 23:31:12 »
Thanks, glossed over much of the sub-text.

Cheers boydfish.
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Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2004, 13:45:51 »
The corollary to that is that the GG is the only effective check on the PM that exists in our system.

This is the crux of the problem: the structure of Canadian Government, along with the 'First Past the Post' electoral system, ensures that pretty much *ALL* of the Executive and Legislative powers are in the hands of the PMO: in the longer term, the PMO also controls the Judiciary.  The of the 'Spill-Over Effect' of the FPP system (i.e., elections typically won with FAR less than 50% of the popular vote) we effectively have complete power in the hands of a single individual (the PM) who only holds this pwoer by a tyranny of a MINORITY.  Trudeau, Chretien, etc., only needed about 40% of the popular support to impose their will on 100% of the population.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2004, 13:49:04 »
Hence why I am in fundamental agreement with the Republican principle of Checks and Balances.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2004, 13:52:54 »
Heck, it's not even unique to the confederation:  Look at the US revolt.  They revolted under the trigger of what they saw as excessive taxation.  Despite that, they not only adopted the British tax system wholesale at the end of the revolt, they also put zero restrictions on how high the government could tax them!

If my history is correct, it started (among other reasons) with excessive taxation on sugar and molasses, but more to the point, only became a popular issue as a constitutional argument ("no taxation without representation"): the idea of high taxes wasn't really the problem, it was the arbitrary manner in which they were administered.
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Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2004, 13:54:29 »
Hence why I am in fundamental agreement with the Republican principle of Checks and Balances.
The words "Triple-E Senate" come to mind ...  :o
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Offline qjdb

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2004, 14:31:43 »
On the web-page that was in the first post on this topic, there is a spot there to ask for a copy of the report that is due out in December.  I just ordered one, and it sounds like you all are interested in it too.  It doesn't say that you have to live in BC to get one.

Quentin
:cdn:
LT Quentin Brown
Training Officer
1725 (CME) RCACC
Chilliwack, BC

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2004, 16:51:12 »
Quote
Hence why I am in fundamental agreement with the Republican principle of Checks and Balances.

Infanteer:

It is not a Republican principle.  Large R of small r, American or otherwise.

Magna Carta, Runnymede, King John and the Barons 1215, all that sort of stuff, was the imposition by the Barons of checks on the Monarch (Monarch = Government).  It was preceded by the Roman Catholic Church imposing their restrictions on the King (made councillors, granted lands, courts and taxing powers) and it was followed by an ever increasing number of people that imposed their checks and balances on the Monarch: Large land holders, small holders, merchants, the educated, labourers, all men, women.  Usually the "ear" of the Monarch and squeezing into a seat at the table required force or at least public disorder and threats.  Very little was willingly ceded.

Thing is, most people asking for the Monarch's ear supported the Monarch's continued existence.   Asking for the Monarch's head was considered counter-productive, and proved to be so, at least in Britain and arguably also in France and Russia. 

Cheers.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2004, 17:06:28 »
Actually, I think it is a republican principle.  Republican doesn't necessarily mean French or American.  Much of what I equate republicanism to be stems from the Classical philosophers.  It seems to me that many of the ideas that developed in the European Renaissance concerning the state and citzenship resulted as an infusion of rediscovered Classical ideas with notions that grew around the dominance of the Church in Europe after the fall of Rome.

I believe much of those concepts from English history you allude to find their root in the ideas of the Roman Republic and its Greek (Aristotelian) antecedents.  Diffusion of powers or "checks and balances" was found in the Roman notion that the state was best served when power was shared between monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic powers.  You could translate the notion of King, Parliament and the People into the Cursus Honourum and Senatus Populusque Romanus.  Even the term "Commonwealth" is a direct translation from the Latin res publica.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2004, 18:00:26 »
Infanteer:

I think that the notions of democracy and limits on the Monarch in Britain came from native soil and were not imported.  Classical influences on British thought weren't particularly common until the Enlightenment in the 1700's (rising largely out of Glasgow and Edinburgh because the Scottish population was supplied with a free education from the 1500s in support of ability for each person to be able to understand the bible for themselves and that required learning latin and greek).

The Celtic Monarchs were not Kings of Land (as in the King of England) but were Kings of People (as in the King of Scots).  The Celtic Monarchs came from proven bloodlines, meaning they were of the unaldulterated version of the pure blood of their people, but the ruled at the pleasure of the sub-kings and ultimately the people.  Of course elections were often decided by the sword but the principle is there was no divine right to rule over people or land and no primo geniture.  The powers of the King were held in check and tribal councils were important bodies.

The Danes and ultimately the Norman Kings couldn't claim right to rule by blood so they claimed right by force.  This claim was ultimately supported by the Catholic Church. They justified the forceful conversion of the pagans (non-Roman christians in some cases) by the faithful Normans and in return gained the King's ear, lands and taxes. 

The locals had no particular reason to accept their loss of control over their Kings and disputed the Norman Catholic right for centuries.  I believe that if you track your way through all the dynastic and civil wars of Britain you will find that essential dynamic present throughout.  Other causes may have come and gone and overlaid the discussion but that to me is the reason that Britain looked to check the power of the King.

It was not so much they were opposed to a King per se,  they were opposed to Kings that were not their kings (not sharing their blood) and to kngs that did not listen to their people.

The Anti-King Republican spirit that arose on the continent out of the Renaissance study of the Classics and the subsequent continental version of the Enlightenment appear to me to be different.  Perhaps it is due to the Island aspect of Britain buffering change.  Britain was invaded but in waves centuries apart or as slow stead incursions, drip by drip.  The peoples of the continent constantly saw their rulers change, their boundaries change on a generational basis and occasionally wholesale tidal waves of disruption.  If they ever had that personal attachment to the King that was obvious in Britain I think it could have been buried in the constant battling for power and survival.

If I think about it perhaps that is a fundamental between British conservative parliamentarianism and French radical republicanism, that basic attachment and perhaps even a personal attachment to the Monarch.  Many folks in Britain, even "anti-Monarchists" know someone of the blood, or someone who has worked for someone of the blood and feel an attachment to their history because of it, no matter how incongruous it feels when viewed rationally.  The Queen still resonates personally in the lives of many Brits.

Now for Canadians I can see there is not that personal attachment, at least not for the non-Brits and not even for all of those with Brit connections.  Especially not for the majority of Franco-Canadians.  And that is reasonable.

However, in my view, a desire to control the power of government, whether it is a monarchy, a tyranny, a democracy or anything in between does not necessarily mean that one is a Republican.  This monarchist, believes in a democratic government, held in check by the people's reps.  He does not yet wish to see the Monarchy abolished.  He is not a Republican.



"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Storm

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Re: Electoral reform in BC
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2004, 04:23:05 »
Stepping back a few posts, basically the reason why I'm happy with this is not because I think it's some magical political silver bullet to solve all that ails us. Not even close.
 
Why I like STV is because it reduces strategic and wasted votes. You get to put the person you think will do the best job representing you as choice #1 without fear that this takes support away from your #2 pick who actually stands a chance.   Independents also stand at least half a chance in hell of getting some seats because of this. Since it can help the problem of wasted and strategic votes, hopefully some of the apathy towards the voting process will be broken. The first step to any sort of meaningful change as far as I'm concerned is an involved public that shows up at the polls.

After actually thinking about it beyond the "STV" title though, I think my initial joy was premature. I jumped the gun and didn't fully think through the consequences of having such large multimember districts. The more I think about ones with up to 7 people the more scared I get. 7 seats means each party runs 7 candidates. Add independents to this and you have easily at least 20 people (minimum) to try and learn about. This will negate a lot of the benefit to independents mentioned above, since far fewer people will bother to learn about all the candidates and will just vote by party affiliation.

Additionally, huge districts leave us with essentially a proportional system, complete with the high probability of coalitions (at least it's better than party lists though). If they really wanted to bow down to the all-popular buzzword "proportional,"   two seats per would have been plenty thanks. After a sober second thought I'm not as impressed with the proposal as I was at first, but I still think it's a step up from what we have now.

And finally,
I (until now) favored the old system because it meant less Jack Latyon's & Co. in the House. Could someone explain why 3 obviously right-wing members (Kirkhill, Brad Sallows, Storm) all support PR if it means more NDP/Greens and other left-wing nutbars elected to the House?

I'm not a big fan of PR, and hence the loss of excitement about the proposed system after time to reflect on it. While I think some - but definately not all - proportional options are better than our current system, I would prefer a single seat STV election above all other choices.

I never realized I'd exposed myself as obviously right-wing in only a couple dozen posts. I always viewed myself as a centrist leaning right   ;D. I go left quite a bit on certain issues, so my vote swings based on the important issues of the day. I guess since my net affiliation leans slightly right I can forgive you if you meant moderate right ;)

In all honesty, as much as seeing a bunch of Laytons running around with power would scare the crap out of me, if the 45% or so of voters that aren't turning out right now all showed up and voted NDP I'd see that as an improvement. The one thing that scares me more for the future of our country than people with opinions I think are retarded are people who don't have any opinion at all.

(whew... that was a freaking novel. Either I need to start coming here more to respond in shorter messages more often, or I need to learn the skill of self-editing.)

reason for edit: it's long... I made mistakes
« Last Edit: October 29, 2004, 04:27:06 by Storm »